The A75 road between Castle Douglas and Stranraer, in South-West Scotland, has been regarded by some as the most scenic road in the country. Certainly it passes through countryside with a history not to be forgotten. One prominent reminder is a near-sixty foot monument on Boreland Hill, above Gatehouse of Fleet, which, since 1842, has carried the inscription:
To the memory of the Rev. Samuel Rutherford, in admiration of his eminent talents, extensive learning, ardent piety, ministerial faithfulness … in the cause of civil and religious liberty.
A visit to the spot reveals that the great stone blocks which make the monument were built by public subscription, and then rebuilt in 1851 after being struck by lightning. From that date to the present it has stood but is now in urgent need of repair. By means of a photograph taken from a drone, it has been discovered that the pointing of the top eight courses of stone work has been seriously affected by frost and water damage, which now threatens the whole structure. Scaffolding will be needed, and the monument, though visible from afar, is not easily accessible.
Out of concern to address this need, the Gatehouse Development Initiative (a registered charity, located at 56 High Street, Gatehouse of Fleet, DG7 2DA, Scotland) has raised £20,000 and stated: ‘We are determined not only to restore the monument and to improve access to it but also to draw attention to the life and work of Samuel Rutherford, which are as relevant today as they were in the seventeenth century.’ But a further £6,000 is needed, and an appeal to the wider public for help is now made. Given the current appreciation of Rutherford’s Letters in several countries, and the influence of his Lex Rex on the founding of the United States of America, it is hope that if the need is widely enough known, comparatively small gifts from many will served to meet it.
A page has been set up on the Gatehouse of Fleet web site to make payments, which will be very gratefully received.
Action is needed according to the promise on the monument,
‘The righteous shall be in everlasting remembrance’ Psalm 112:6.
lain H. Murray
July 5, 2017